APUSH Chapter 32

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), 1960 / Port Huron Statement, 1960 / Tom HaydenA popular college student organization that protested shortcomings in American life, especially racism and the Vietnam War. The SDS gained strength from the Free Speech Movement at the University of California (see below). By 1968 some 100,000 young people around the nation belonged to SDS. It led thousands of campus protests before it split apart at the end of the 1960s.
• The Weathermen were the most extreme fringe of the SDS and their endorsement of violence and vandalism discredited the early idealism of the New Left in many Americans’ eyes.
Antiwar Campus Protest, mid 1960s-1973Student activists tried to ban military training programs for officers (ROTC) and military recruiters from college campuses. Laboratories and corporations making weapons for war were also targeted by student protest.
• Some of the biggest political marches in American history were held between 1967-1969.
• Opposition to the war was also linked to opposition to the draft. Traditional deferments (exemptions from the draft) were being gradually eliminated and many Americans went to jail because of their refusal to serve in the military or chose to go to Canada to escape the draft.
Hawks and Doves, 1ate 1960s-1973Two terms used to denote supporters and opponents of the Vietnam War.
• The supporters of the war, the “hawks” contended the Soviet Union was behind the war and it was part of a master plan to conquer all of Southeast Asia.
• The opponents of the war, the “doves” saw the war as a civil war being fought by Vietnamese nationalists and some Communists who wanted to unite Vietnam by overthrowing a corrupt Saigon government.
• The labels symbolize the real polarization of Americans over the war – few people chose a middle position.
Free Speech Movement / Berkeley, 1964The first major student protest which centered on students’ demand that all university restrictions on student political activities be lifted. Berkeley students protested after university officials banned political leafleting on campus. They complained that they were treated like numbers, not people, at the overcrowded Berkeley campus.
• Other students around the country formed similar protest organizations, demanding an end to restrictive campus rules that failed to treat them like responsible individuals.
Nixon Doctrine, 1969-1974The doctrine stated the United States would continue to help Asian nations combat Communism but would no longer commit American troops to land wars in Asia.
• Nixon announced that 25,000 United States troops would be withdrawn from Vietnam by August 1969. An additional cut of 65,000 troops was ordered by the end of the year.
• Nixon’s program, known as Vietnamization of the war, emphasized the responsibilities of the South Vietnamese in the war.
Henry Kissinger, 1969-1974Kissinger was Nixon’s National Security advisor and turned the National Security Council into the key factor in shaping foreign policy. In 1973, Nixon appointed Kissinger Secretary of State, a post he retained until 1977.
• Nixon and Kissinger crafted the policy of “Vietnamization” where U.S. troops were gradually withdrawn and replaced by South Vietnamese troops.
• In addition, the United States worked to open friendly relations with Communist China and détente with the Soviet Union, and developed the Nixon Doctrine.
Vietnamization, 1969-1973Nixon ran on the slogan “Peace with Honor.” To that end, when he assumed the presidency in 1969, he began Vietnamization, the process of replacing the American armed forces with South Vietnamese troops trained by American advisors.
• Vietnamization allowed the United States to save its reputation and satisfy an American public weary with a futile struggle.
Vietnam Moratorium, October 15, 1969By 1969, the war seemed to be losing any sense of purpose or honor; people wondered whether a victory would be worth the killing and destruction. Hundreds of mainstream organizations opposed the war, ranging from Another Mother for Peace to Business Executives Move for A Vietnam Peace
• Moderate anti-war activists organized a giant “teach-in” on October 15, 1969 to protest the war. 10 million Americans participated in the moratorium.
Bombing of Laos and Cambodia, 1969As Nixon began to withdraw American forces from Vietnam in 1969, he sent Henry Kissinger to negotiate with the Communists’ foreign minister, Le Duc Tho.
• In order to force a compromise, the president ordered massive bombings of Cambodia and Laos, the locations of communist supply lines
• This, in tandem with the Cambodia invasion, set off a new wave of protest against the Vietnam War.
Cambodia Invasion, 1970Nixon expanded the war by sending American forces to invade Cambodia for the purpose of destroying Vietnamese Communist bases in that country.
• The consequence of the expansion and the bombing of Laos and Cambodia were to reunite the antiwar protest which had seen a reduction when Nixon initially took office and started gradually withdrawing troops from Vietnam.
Kent State University (Ohio) and Jackson State University (Mississippi) incidents, 1970
In 1970 Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia expanded the war in Southeast Asia and sparked massive American protests on college campuses. The Kent and Jackson State universities were sites of protest in which student protesters were killed. As protests rose in number, business and political leaders grew alarmed by how the debate over the war was polarizing the country.
Following violence after an anti-war protest by Kent State students the mayor of Kent declared a state of emergency and requested the Ohio National Guard be sent to help maintain order.
By May 3, tensions escalated as the National Guard continued to break up demonstrations. On May 4 when the Guard attempted to break up another demonstration with tear gas and some demonstrators threw the canisters and rocks back at the Guard), twenty-nine Guardsmen opened fire, killing four students and wounding nine.
A week of anti-war clashes between police and students ended with the police opening fire, killing two students and wounding twelve. The Jackson State shootings happened ten days after Kent State.
Daniel Ellsberg / The Pentagon Papers, 1971Ellsberg was an analyst for the Department of Defense. In 1971, he released to the press The Pentagon Papers, an account of American involvement in Vietnam created by the Defense Department during the Johnson administration.
• The papers clearly revealed government lies about American involvement and success in Vietnam to Congress and the American people.
• In response, Nixon tried to stop the publication of the papers with a court injunction and when that failed, he directed his secret intelligence unit (nicknamed “the plumbers”) to stop the leaks. To that end, seeking information to discredit Ellsberg, the plumbers burglarized the office of a psychiatrist he was seeing.
• This event started the whole series of “dirty tricks” and crimes that ended in the constitutional crisis of Watergate.
My Lai Massacre / Lt. William Calley, 1971My Lai Massacre / Lt. William Calley, 1971
Calley was charged and convicted with supervising the massacre of over 300 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the hamlet of My Lai.
• His trial attracted a great deal of public attention and to many people the tragedy symbolized the dehumanizing aspects of the Vietnam War both for the Vietnamese people and the American troops since many Americans believed that the My Lai massacre was not an isolated atrocity.
Paris Peace Accords, 1973The accords ended the U.S. participation in the Vietnam War. North Vietnam agreed to an armistice and the United States removed the last of its troops. North Vietnam also agreed to return over 500 prisoners-of-war. In addition, the Accords also promised a cease-fire and free elections.
• This ended American participation in a war that cost over 58,000 American lives.
• But it did not end the war between North and South Vietnam and thousands of North Vietnamese troops were still in South Vietnam and everyone knew South Vietnam would quickly fall after United States troops were withdrawn.
Fall of Saigon, 1975Soon after the Paris Peace Accords removed the last of the American troops from South Vietnam, the Vietnam War escalated, and a full-scale offensive launched in March 1975 brought the fall of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, a month later. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam was reunited under the rule of the North Vietnamese Communist government.
Cambodia / Khmer Rouge / “The Killing Field” 1975The United States supported govt. in Cambodia fell the same year as South Vietnam when the Khmer Rouge, the communist guerrilla force in Cambodia took power.
• The Khmer Rouge committed genocide against more than a million of its own people. Over the course of the next few years, one-third of Cambodia’s people were killed by the group.
Sexual Revolution, late 1960sThis referred to a shift in American attitudes toward sexual expression. Antibiotics and the introduction of the birth control pill in 1960 both played a role in tempting people to have casual sex with a number of partners.
• It was not clear how much this actually changed the behavior of the majority of Americans. It is clear, however, that the new morality weakened the earlier restrictions on premarital sex, contraception, abortion, and homosexuality.
Counterculture / Hippies, late 1960sA culture embracing values or lifestyles opposing those of the mainstream culture. In the United States during the late 1960s, many young people created a counterculture that opposed the conservative social norms of Middle America.
• Hippies, people who opposed and rejected conventional standards of society and advocated extreme liberalism in their sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles, became synonymous with 1960s countercultural youth.
• The counterculture supported women’s liberation, anti-materialism, and opposed the Vietnam War.
Haight-Ashbury, late 1960sA neighborhood in San Francisco known for its attraction to the counterculture / hippies.
Beatles / Rolling Stones, 1964 onwardThe Beatles first trip to the U.S. created such a sensation that it was called “Beatle mania.” The Beatles performed the standard romance songs, but during the course of the 1960s transitioned into songs that reflected their interest in drugs and Eastern religions.
• Later groups, such as the Rolling Stones, commonly chose songs with lyrics that expressed anger, frustration, and rebellion against mainstream society.
• Some musicians (such as folk singers Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell) used their music to express political radicalism as well as personal rebellion against mainstream society.
Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture, 1969A major work that gave an overview of the countercultural aesthetics, ideology, outlook, and thinking.
Woodstock / Altamont, 1969Woodstock was a fusion of rock music; hard drugs, free love, and an antiwar protest drawing 400,000 people in the summer of 1969. The concert was the high point of the counterculture movement.
• At the other end of the spectrum was Altamont, a concert near San Francisco attended by over 300,000 people. Altamont had rock music, hard drugs, and free love, but violence as well. Four people died and many people were beaten by members of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang who had been hired by the Rolling Stones as security guards.
American Indian Movement (AIM) / Indian Civil Rights Act, 1968Activist group, with the purpose of redressing some of the many grievances of Native Americans. The initial support for the group came from urban areas, but it also soon struck a responsive chord on the reservations. Native Americans made up less than one percent of the population, but they were one of the poorest minority groups in the nation. The Native American unemployment rate was ten times that of the national rate and their life expectancy was over twenty years shorter than whites.
• The group had some concrete achievements such as the Indian Civil Rights Act and President Nixon’s pledge for more federal aid to the tribes and increased tribal self-determination.
• Militants associated with the organization occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, arguing that treaties had been ignored.
Indian Civil Rights Act, 1968With this law Native Americans were included in most of the political protection other citizens enjoyed under the Bill of Rights while the act also recognized the role of tribal laws on reservations.
• Dissatisfaction with the limited nature of the act led AIM and other activist groups to take direct action (see Wounded Knee and Alcatraz Island).
Alcatraz Island, 1969-1971AIM occupied the abandoned prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay for two years in an effort to claim the island as Native American land. They claimed the island by “right of discovery.”
Wounded Knee, 1973Wounded Knee was the site of an 1890 massacre of Sioux by U.S. troops. By the 1970s, Wounded Knee made up part of a Sioux reservation and the poverty level was extremely high. These conditions and hostility between Native Americans and local enforcement resulted in AIM members seizing and occupying the town of Wounded Knee for two months. The seizure ended after one Native American died and another was wounded in a confrontation with the federal government.
Indian Self-Determination Act, 1975This gave reservations and Native American tribes’ greater autonomy over internal programs, education, and law enforcement. The act helped tribes gain control over many of the programs supervised by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
U.S. vs. Wheeler, 1978The Supreme Court affirmed Native American tribes had a unique independent legal statue that could not be discontinued by Congress.
Latinos / Hispanics, 1960s-1970sThe fast growing minority group in the United States which was made up of varied groups that included Puerto Ricans, Latinos from Central and South America, and the largest and most influential group of Hispanics — Mexican Americans.
• The Mexican American population went from 3 million to over 20 million by 1990. After 1960, Latinos made up over one-third of all legal immigrants to the U.S.
• Mexican-Americans surpassed African-Americans as the nation’s largest minority group.
Cesar Chavez / United Farm Workers, early 1970sCesar Chavez founded this union of farm workers. The UFW sought to empower the mostly Hispanic migrant farm workers who faced discrimination and exploitative conditions, especially in the Southwest.
• To publicize the workers’ cause, Chavez started several grape and lettuce boycotts to pressure growers to negotiate with the UFW.
• During the late 1970s-1980s the ground that the UFW had made was lost as growers took strong efforts against union organizing and a new group of immigrants eager for work helped the growers in this effort.
La Raza Unida, 1970sA Mexican-American political party in the Southwest that advocated the creation of an autonomous Mexican-American state within a state.
“Stonewall Riot,” 1969 / Gay Liberation Movement, 1970sIn 1969 the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village. Patrons resisted arrest and the clash pitted the bar’s largely homosexual patrons, who claimed police harassment, against law enforcement officials.
• “Stonewall” marked a central turning point for sexual politics. Borrowing ideas and rhetoric from the civil-rights movement, gays began an effort to win social and legal acceptance and to encouraged gays to affirm their sexual identity.
• Despite some advances, the movement was slowed down by the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the insistence of the military on banning openly gay individuals from the armed services.
Betty Friedan / The Feminine Mystique, 1963Friedan critiqued the societal ideal where women were encouraged to confine themselves to being wives and mothers and compared women’s lives in the suburbs to living in “comfortable concentration camps.” Her book attacked the idea that a women’s only satisfaction came through homemaking.
• Friedan’s book was very influential and viewed as defining central issues that the women’s movement would grapple with throughout the 1970s.
• Friedan was one of the founders of the National Organization of Women (NOW) (see below).
Equal Pay Act, 1963This was an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which prohibited wage discrimination, based on sex, in public or private employment.
National Organization of Women (NOW), 1966NOW called for equal employment opportunity and equal pay for women. NOW also championed the legalization of abortion and passage of an equal rights amendment to the Constitution.
Kate Millett / Sexual Politics, 1969In contrast to The Feminine Mystique which questioned the source of women’s discontent with their role in modern society, Millet’s book pinpointed the cause as the pervasive patriarchy in Western society and literature. Her book advocated a concerted effort by women to disband the male control of society.
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), 1972-1982Congress passed this amendment prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender in 1972, but the campaign to get the necessary thirty-eight states to ratify it fell short despite the intensive lobbying of NOW to get it passed.
• It lacked the necessary votes partially because of the conservative reaction of Americans to radical feminism.
Sandra Day O’Connor, 1981 / Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 1993O’Connor was nominated for the Supreme Court by Ronald Regan and upon Senate confirmation became the first woman Supreme Court justice.
• Contrary to popular expectations, O’Connor turned out to be a “swing” vote (sometimes voting liberal and other times conservative) rather than a strictly conservative justice.
• Ruth Ginsburg was the second woman Supreme Court justice and she was nominated by President Bill Clinton.
Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965Ruled that a state could not prohibit the use of contraceptives by adults since such a prohibition violated a citizen’s right to privacy. The case was a foundation for the Roe decision.
Roe v. Wade, 1973The Supreme Court ruled that women had a constitutional right to abortion during the early stages of pregnancy.
• This case legalized abortion since it struck down the many state laws prohibiting abortion unless the mother’s life was in danger. The decision was primarily based on a woman’s right to privacy.
• Roe sparked criticism from Roman Catholics and sparked a vigorous right-to-life movement that opposed abortion.
The Warren Court, 1954 -1969Chief Justice Earl Warren had an impact on the United States comparable to that of Chief Justice John Marshall.
• The 1954 Brown decision was the pivotal case of the 20th century involving race relations.
• In the 1960s the Warren Court made a series of decisions on the criminal justice system, the political system of states, and the definition of individual rights that had a pivotal effect on U.S. politics and society.
Yates v. United States, 1957Ruled that the First Amendment protected radical and revolutionary speech, including that of Communists, unless it presented a “clear and present danger” to the safety of the country.
Mapp v. Ohio, 1961The case involved a Cleveland woman, Dolly Mapp, who was arrested for possessing obscene material which police discovered during their unlawful search for a bombing suspect.
• The Supreme Court agreed with Mapp that her rights had been violated under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids unreasonable searches and seizures.
• The Mapp decision applied the so-called exclusionary rule to the states. This rule says illegally seized evidence cannot be used in court against the accused.
Engle v. Vitale, 1962Ruled state laws requiring Bible readings and public prayers (even “non-denominational’ prayers) in public schools violated the First Amendment’s specification that church and state must be separated.
Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963The Warren Court ruled in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright that the state was required to provide attorneys for defendants in felony charges (later expanded to other charges) at the public’s expense.
• This ruling was a part of the effort to reform the criminal justice system and ensure poor people had legal council.
Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964 / Miranda v. Arizona, 1966Escobedo required the police to inform an arrested person of his or her right to remain silent. In 1966 in Miranda the Supreme Court extended the Escobedo ruling to include the right to have a lawyer present during questioning.
• Ultimately, the Miranda Decision required police to read suspects their constitutional rights which included remaining silent and having legal council present during police questioning.
Baker v. Carr, 1962Prior to Baker it was common practice for at least one house of the state legislature’s apportionment to be based upon the drawing of district lines that strongly favored rural areas over large cities. Baker said this was unconstitutional.
• This decision established “one man, one vote” – which meant election districts had to be redrawn to provide equal representation for all of a state’s citizens.
Furman v. Georgia, 1972The Supreme Court struck down existing death penalty laws as unconstitutional unless they were fairly applied. The ruling imposed rigorous new principles on death penalty laws in future cases.
• The ruling disappointed and angered many conservatives who saw this as an ongoing trend in the Court that showed undue leniency and over concern with criminal rather than victim rights.
Bakke v. Board of Regents, 1978Bakke involved the principle of affirmative action (employers and schools adopting measures to recruit minorities to compensate for past injustices). The Supreme Court did not strike down the use of affirmative action, but imposed new guidelines for the use of affirmative action in the future.
Détente, 1970sThe evacuation of American troops from Vietnam helped Nixon and Kissinger reduce Chinese-American tensions and achieve détente with the Communist superpowers.
• This dramatic development marked a significant change in American foreign policy by developing a cordial attitude towards the Communists.
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties (SALT I, 1972) / (SALT II, 1979)SALT I
The United States and the Soviet Union capped off four years of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) by signing a treaty limiting the deployment of antiballistic missiles (ABM’s) and an agreement to freeze the number of offensive missiles for five years.
The treaty set limits on the number of long-range missiles, bombers, and nuclear warheads for the United States and the Soviet Union. President Carter presented it to the Senate, then after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, announced the withdrawal of the treaty from Senate consideration.
• Although the treaty never entered into force, both the United States and the USSR pledged to abide by its limits.
• Both SALT I and II helped reduce tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.
China visit, 1972On February 22, 1972, President Nixon visited China. As part of his policy of détente, Nixon took advantage of the Sino-Soviet split to pit the former allies against each other by opening diplomatic ties with China.
• The China visit sealed the new Chinese-American rapprochement, leaving the Soviet Union more isolated.
Election of 1968: Nixon (R) vs. Humphrey (D) vs. Wallace (American Independent)Richard Nixon (R) vs. Hubert Humphrey (D) vs. George Wallace (American Independent). This was a tumultuous year in American history and the election reflected that turmoil. Senator Eugene McCarthy became the political leader for the antiwar movement when he challenged Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic nomination (Nov. 1967). Robert Kennedy was also running for the Democratic nomination – he had just won a major victory in the California primary in June 1968 when he was assassinated. Johnson announced after the Têt Offensive he would not run for President. The Democrats nominated Johnson’s Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey.
• The Democratic Convention was a fiasco – the convention was orderly, but the streets were a battlefield between Mayor Richard Daley’s Chicago Police and the antiwar protestors.
Alabama George Wallace used hostility toward desegregation, antiwar protests, and race riots to put together a candidacy under the “American Independent” label. Republican Nixon ran on “peace with honor” in Vietnam and as an advocate of “law and order” at home. Humphrey was behind Wallace and Nixon, but started to catch up as the election progressed. Nixon beat Humphrey by a close popular vote, but with a substantial electoral majority of 301 to 191.
• The importance of the 1968 election is apparent in the combined popular vote of almost 57% by Nixon and Wallace.
Robert Kennedy, 1960-1968Kennedy served as Attorney General in his brother’s, President John Kennedy, cabinet. After his brother’s assassination he ran and won a Senate seat from New York.
• Kennedy was a critic of the Vietnam War and championed minority causes, especially civil rights. He stressed that voting was the key to racial equality and pushed for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
• Kennedy campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, but was assassinated right after winning the California primary.
George Wallace, 1962-1998George Wallace was a governor of Alabama who first came to national attention as an outspoken segregationist. Wallace ran for the presidency in 1968 and 1972 and was shot during a 1972 election campaign stop in Maryland.
• Wallace showed strength in white working-class areas of the North and West, where rising crime rates, draft deferments for college students, and court-ordered busing of schoolchildren to integrate schools were hot issues.
• The assassination attempt left him paralyzed from the waist down and ended his presidential aspirations, although he went on to serve multiple terms as the governor of Alabama.
Southern Strategy, 1968-1974When Nixon received only 43 percent of the popular vote in 1968, he started looking for a way to form a republican majority in time for the upcoming 1972 election.
• His strategy included appealing to the group he called the “Silent Majority” who disliked the antiwar protests, black militants, school busing to achieve racial balance, and the counterculture.
• To win votes in the South, Nixon asked federal courts in the South to delay integration plans and busing orders.
• He also nominated two southern conservatives to the Supreme Court (which the Senate refused to confirm).
• The success of the Southern Strategy was confirmed in 1972 when the Republican ticket won majorities in every Southern state.
Election of 1972: Nixon (R) vs. McGovern (D)Richard Nixon (R) v. George McGovern (D). Nixon’s reelection was assured. He relied on his diplomatic successes with China and Russia and his strategy towards the winding down of the war in Vietnam to attract moderate voters. He expected his southern strategy and law-and-order posture to attract the conservative Democrats. Nixon faced McGovern, who was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.
• McGovern endorsed higher taxes on the wealthy, a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans, and amnesty for Vietnam War draft resisters.
• He was perceived as too radical in the eyes of many Americans. Nixon won a landslide victory.
Twenty-fifth Amendment, 1967This amendment was an effort to resolve some of the continuing issues about secession to the office of the President; that is, what happens upon the death, removal, or resignation of the President and what is the course to follow if for some reason the President becomes disabled to such a degree that he cannot fulfill his responsibilities?
• The Twenty-fifth amendment detailed the procedure by which the Vice-President was to take over the presidency if the current president could not fulfill the duties of the office.
Impoundment, 1969-1974The refusal of a president to spend money appropriated by Congress. In the early 1970s, President Richard Nixon hoped to slow the growth of the federal government and reduce funding for programs he opposed by refusing to spend money appropriated by the Democratic-controlled Congress for urban renewal and pollution control.
New Federalism aka Revenue Sharing, 1969-1974The return of federal tax money to the states for their use. President Nixon tried to reverse the concentration of power in Washington by initiating a decentralization of governmental functions in 1972, and revenue sharing was a part of this process.
The Imperial Presidency, 1973The term “imperial presidency” referred to the view that the office of the presidency underwent an evolution over time and that Watergate must be seen in the context of a much larger pattern of presidential usurpation of power (especially in the area of international relations) that went back several decades before Nixon.
Deindustrialization, 1970sA long period of decline in the industrial sector. This term refers specifically to the decline of manufacturing and growth of the service sector of the economy in post-World War II America.
• The use of more efficient and automated production techniques, increased competition from foreign-made goods, and the use of cheap labor abroad by United States manufacturers brought about deindustrialization.
Stagflation, 1970s / Wage-Price Freeze and Controls, 1971Following a recession in 1970 the American economy faced an economic slowdown and high inflation (stagnation plus inflation). To cut inflation, Nixon cut back on federal spending.
• When this policy created recession and unemployment, he used deficit spending so he would not lose the support of middle-class and working-class Americans.
• He took the nation by surprise when he imposed a 90-day wage and price freeze.
Twenty-sixth Amendment, 1971This amendment guaranteed the rights of those who were 18 years of age or older to vote as citizens of the United States. Strong support for the amendment among Americans came from the extensive numbers of eighteen year olds drafted in the army to fight in Vietnam.
War Powers Act, 1973Partially as a result of public anger when Nixon’s secret bombing raids on Cambodia became public knowledge, Congress passed this act requiring any President taking military action to report to Congress within 48 hours and further stipulating Congress had to approve any military action that lasted over 60 days.
• This was a significant restriction on the imperial presidency and the act was passed over Nixon’s veto.
Resignation of Spiro T. Agnew, 1974Vice President Agnew was charged with income-tax evasion and accepting bribes. He pleaded no contest which was “the full equivalent to a plea of guilty,” according to the trial judge.
• Dishonored and distrusted, Agnew left the government service with a three-year suspended sentence.
• Nixon appointed and Congress confirmed Republican House Minority Leader Gerald Ford as the new vice president.
Committee for the Reelection of the President (CREEP), 1972Nixon created CREEP to ensure every vote possible for the election of 1972. he appointed Attorney General John Mitchell as the head. CREEP financed many “dirty tricks” to spread dissension within Democratic ranks and paid for a special internal espionage unit to spy on the opposition.
Watergate, 1972-1974Watergate was a major United States political scandal that began with the burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic Party’s campaign headquarters. The scandal later engulfed President Richard M. Nixon and many of his supporters in a variety of illegal acts, and culminated in the first resignation of a U.S. president.
• The burglary was committed on June 17, 1972, by five men who were caught in the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate apartment and office complex in Washington, D.C. In the beginning the break-in got little media attention.
• But persistent investigation by two reporters for the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, eventually brought to light a White House-sponsored plan of espionage against political opponents and a trail of complicity in efforts to cover up how the burglary was planned and financed.
• Watergate led to the disillusionment of many Americans with their government.
Watergate Tapes, 1973Senate investigators of Watergate learned that Nixon had a voice-activated taping machine that recorded every conversation in President Nixon’s Oval Office. When the other branches of government petitioned the courts for the tapes, Nixon claimed “executive privilege” (that the release of the tapes would handicap Nixon’s ability to effectively handle the duties of his office).
“Saturday Night Massacre” / Archibald Cox, 1973When Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was appointed by President Nixon to handle the Watergate cases, took the President to court to force Nixon to hand over the Watergate tapes, Nixon fired Cox.
• Consequently, Nixon’s Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy resigned in protest. Nixon was forced to appoint a new special prosecutor, more importantly; this led to the House of Representatives investigating the potential for impeachment of the president.
“Smoking Gun,” / Nixon’s Resignation, 1974Throughout the Watergate Investigation, there was an ongoing effort to find conclusive evidence (the “smoking gun”) that the president knew about and indeed ordered the cover-up of Watergate. The Presidential recordings or “Watergate Tapes” offered that conclusive evidence and, at that point, impeachment and conviction of the president was inevitable.
• Nixon brooded over his options and on August 8, 1974 became the first American president to ever resign.
• Gerald Ford, former Republican House Minority Leader and Nixon’s current vice-president was then sworn in as President of the United States.
Ford’s Pardon of Richard Nixon, 1974President Gerald Ford gave former President Richard Nixon a full pardon shortly after Nixon’s resignation. Some Americans wondered whether a deal had been struck between Ford and Nixon prior to Nixon’s resignation.
• However, Ford told Americans that far too much of the nation’s and the federal government’s time and energy were being spent on legal wrangling rather than the pressing problem of inflation etc.
Six-day War, 1967 (under Lyndon Johnson’s administration)Israeli victory over Egypt, Syria, and Jordan forces increased tensions in the Middle East. Israel gained control of the entire city of Jerusalem and new territories on the west bank of the Jordan River, the Gaza strip, and the Golan Heights.
• The war’s end also saw an increase in the number of refugee Palestinians and increased activities by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and other radical groups.
Yom Kippur War, 1973 (under Richard Nixon’s administration)Egyptian and Syria forces attacked Israel on the Jewish High Holy Day of Yom Kippur. After recovering from the surprise attack the Israeli launched a successful counter offensive. Under pressure from the United States, Israel accepted a cease fire rather than continuing the war. The United States pressured Israel because we were dependent on the Middle East for oil.
• Despite the cease fire the Arab nations imposed an oil embargo on nations that supported Israel.
• The Yom Kippur War demonstrated that third world countries would no longer be docile “client states” and that the days of cheap energy for the western world was over.
Arab oil embargo, 1973 (under Richard Nixon’s administration)Furious at American intervention in the Middle Eastern conflicts, the Arab nations began to downsize the exportation of petroleum products to western nations. Consequently, the western world which relied heavily on petroleum was forced to seek other resources of fuel and energy.
• The short but effective oil embargo contributed to the economic woes of the U.S. in the 1970s.